Fencing is a unique sport which pits two competitors against one another in a contest of skill and athleticism. Each fencer attempts to touch the other with the tip of his/her sword to score touches, or points. All fencing competitions must ensure that the basic rules are followed to protect the safety of all players.
Below are some of the basic elements to fencing:
Fencing competitors have to ensure they have the necessary equipment. This includes a mask to protect the face, a protective jacket, a pair of fencing pants to shield the legs and a fencing glove that shelters the sleeve on the sword arm. The referees will check the participants before each contest to make sure the equipment is up to the safety standards.
Fencing employs a simple scoring system, which awards one point for every time a fencer touches his/hers opponent with the sword. Depending on the manner of competition, sessions may last five touches with a time limit of three minutes or 15 touches with a time limit of nine minutes. (According to the rules of the U.S. Fencing Association)
A fencer must touch his or hers opponent in an accepted target zone of the body to gain a point. With the target changing, this does depend on the type of weapon being used.
– In epee fencing contacting anywhere on the rival’s body registers a point.
– Sabre fencing restrictions the target zone to the torso, meaning anywhere above the waist.
– Foil fencing reduces it even further. This restricts the target area to the chest only and removing the arms and head from contemplation.
These targets however will be dependent on the level of the player.
Fencers compete on a long thin strip of material and this must remain on the fencing bit at all times. The strip, must be 46 feet long and measure between 4 and roughly 6 feet wide. The strip comprises a centre line, two on-guard lines approximately 6 feet from the centre line and two lines shaping the back limits of the strip roughly 23 feet from the centre line.
If a fencer steps outside the playing area, the referee will award 1 meter of ground to the challenger on the restart. The referee may also grant touches to the opponent if a fencer attacks with both hands. In addition, if a fencer doesn’t follow instructions or displays poor sportsmanship (e.g. violent behaviour) this can result in points being deducted as well! Try and always stay humble… that’s my philosophy.
The lunge is a standard but a very important attacking move. From the simple fencing point, spread your right foot forward as far as possible without overstretching or losing balance. Practice makes perfect with this move. As you lunge towards your opponent, prolong your sword arm then employ your challenger with a swipe!
The flunge is a move used in saber fencing which is essentially a flying lunge. You can perform the flunge with the same intent as a standard lunge, but the initial flying leap allows you a greater element of surprise and speed… something I enjoy delivering!
By Steven Shukla